New cancer diagnoses are on the rise. Over 260,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed before the end of 2019. Luckily, cancer care has greatly improved over the last decade. Whether you are currently pursuing breast cancer treatment, prostate cancer treatment, or other cancer care, your oncologist may recommend a course of chemotherapy. Many patients struggle with the idea of dealing with chemotherapy as part of their cancer care because there are so many myths that accompany this treatment option.
While it is true that chemotherapy is not something you should take lightly, the misconceptions surrounding this type of cancer care might make this process seem much scarier than it is. Understanding the facts about chemotherapy, and putting some of the myths to rest, can help you to be better prepared for the process.
Chemotherapy is the Only Type of Cancer Treatment
One of the biggest myths about chemotherapy is that it’s the only way to treat cancer. There are actually many different types of cancer treatment drugs that may be used; sometimes, they may be used in conjunction with each other.
Chemotherapy treatments are becoming more customized to the individual. Your oncologist at the cancer treatment center can provide you with customized chemotherapy options to target your specific type of cancer to get the best possible outcomes.
Chemotherapy is Painful
While there are possible side effects of chemotherapy, the process is not painful. The myth that chemotherapy is painful likely stems from how cancer was treated in the past. During the 1980s, a patient would have to stay in the hospital for a few days after each administration of the treatment. Today, most chemotherapy is delivered on an outpatient basis.
Research has produced more effective drugs that do not impede the patient’s quality of life as they once did.
Chemotherapy Involves Violent Bouts of Nausea
Thanks to the advancement in both chemotherapy drugs and anti-nausea drugs, many patients experience little to no nausea during their treatments. At one point in time, every patient would have to stay in the hospital after treatment to deal with the vomiting safely,. Today, it is uncommon to experience violent nausea and vomiting.
Cancer Treatment Leads to Hair Loss
Another one of the greatest myths about chemotherapy is that every person will lose their hair. Some people will lose their hair, but others never lose any hair. Thanks to new drugs that specifically target certain cancer cells, hair loss is not necessarily the rule any longer.
Chemotherapy Can Impact Fertility
A lot of people believe that their cancer care treatment plan will lead to infertility. However, this is not the case. You can even become pregnant while undergoing chemo treatments. It is very important that birth control is used during chemo treatment, however. Pregnancy can seriously complicate your cancer care.
he goal of any cancer care treatment option is remission. Chemotherapy is often the way to further that goal. Learning more about your treatment options, and more about the effects of chemotherapy, from your oncologist can help you to better understand the value of this treatment and how it can move you from the groups of cancer patients to cancer survivors.